Democracy and peace

Democratic Peace theory states that democracies are naturally peace-loving. In terms of domestic policy decisions are, after all, taken based on procedures and on consensus, not with (the threat of) violence. When projected to the international stage, democracies do not wage war on each other based on the same principles. The Peace Institute, which is associated with the Flemish Parliament, examines this relation between democracy and peace.

In a democratic society the balance of the institutional political structure (the legislative, executive and judiciary branches of government), in combination with a consultative culture, contribute to a robust peace dividend. Society and its citizens reap the benefits of this. And yet the relationship between democratic political structures and peace also gives rise to questions. Is the ideal of Democratic Peace merely rhetoric rather than reality? What if democracies also wish to impose their system on other countries using violence? To which extent do citizens really take part in the decision-making process on war and peace? And what is the role of the media, the 'fourth estate'?

The Peace Institute examines the relationship between democracy and peace from different angles. Attention is paid to the history of Democratic Peace, theoretical developments, image-building in the media and the citizen's perspective.

For publications of the Institute's researchers on democracy and peace in journals, click here.


Overview of all publications